Lead, Laugh, Learn
English is weird.
Apparently, it has many grammatical ‘exceptions’, making it a tricky secondary language to learn. But for me, one of the funniest things about English, is our use….or as the next illustration demonstrates…. our misuse of homographs.
I hope these sentences made you laugh a little. My favorite is the desert/dessert/desert. Conjurers up all kinds of outrageous images in my brain!
I have, on occasion, mixed up homographs with homophones….like when creating my title for Week 31….’Lead, Laugh, Learn’….I originally wrote a confusing homonym (lead, led, lead) meaning something I was in fact not saying. The ‘Lead’ in my title implies a direction one must go in order to get to a certain point, usually initiated by one person going in that particular direction and others following. But what I was actually thinking in my head, was ‘led’, which is a past-tense version of the word, causing me to go to the dictionary (google) and confirm if I even knew what I was trying to say….which my daughters have repeatedly assured me….I do not!
What fascinated me most on my google search was, how much information was available. I guess people really love homonyms!
But our/are tricky English language does not stop at homonyms….it goes much further! Here are some examples:
With rules like these, I am surprised we learn to spell at all! Though some would argue, spelling skills are quickly fading with the use of spellcheck and standard auto-check programming. Still, there is room for error with this helpful technology. If a word written is not an accurate reflection of the intention, but still a viable word, the program skips over it as correct, skewing the intent of the author. Fresh eyes reading any such documents, would likely discover this kind of error and conclude the only edits made, were at a click of a mouse.
Not so, for this Renaissance Chick! I self-edit and proof-read everything about 23 times before hitting the final publish button….no spell check, a dog-eared thesaurus and dictionary tucked closely beside my computer monitor. Although I should confess, I gave ‘renaissance’ my best shot before choosing an auto-correct option. 🙂
I know you were probably not concerned about your grammar when deciding to read this post, so I will move on to why I think this all connects to Week 31, Humor with US.
But first….my icon for this week. It is a blank card from a set mum purchased when she visited near her East Coast roots. Charlottetown was the home of one of her favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables. She chuckled quietly at the antics of this beloved and well documented girl when it became a TV series and did not miss a single episode. This was one of the few ways mum managed her stress. She often commented on Anne’s grin, and I cannot help but wonder if she saw a bit of herself, or me, in this little face of innocent mischief.
And now, moving on to how grammar has shaped my idea of Humor with the ones who are closest to me….which takes me back to rules.
When our middle son ran away 5 years ago, I wrote him a very nice letter, explaining what it would be like if he wanted to come back into our home. He would need to pick up right where he left us….he would still be grounded, still be expected to abide by house rules, but still be loved. I did not get to deliver this letter to him, as he had contacted his father and ran to an awaiting vehicle when I approached him with it a few days later.
During that first year, the phone would ring late at night. I would go running to aid him….hungry, lost, sick, or outwearing his welcome, and my sentiment stayed the same. You are always welcome home, but under these rules. Phone calls turned into jail visits….jail visits turned into outbursts….outbursts turned into complete disconnect, and stayed there for 4 years. Trying to keep what I thought were normal rules, did not work. It did not pull our son back to us.
This week, we had our middle son back for a second visit, with Grandpa and Grandma in tow, and all his full siblings together, it was nothing short of a miracle.
We cooked, they ate.
We talked, they joked.
We cleaned, they played.
We watched, they connected.
We cried, they laughed….wildly.
It was like watching a classic movie. The image was a bit blurry, sounds echoed like that of familiar characters, and the plot had ‘happy ending’ written all over it! And, true to a well written script, I got lost in time and space, not sure of what was real, not wanting any of it to end. Hearing them laugh, watching them interact, seeing this different person in the body of a boy I once knew….yet still know….was astounding and ever so humbling. It was my proof that prayer works….that families overcome….that rules only work sometimes….that exceptions are necessary….in order to still love.
Love has shown, we cannot pick up where we left off. We can only pick up, right where he is now.
This is US.
Hubby and I came to a halting realization with the many stressors we are experiencing currently with our children. Whatever we consider and decide to act upon in regard to them, cannot divide relationships.
No, we do not want to walk on eggshells.
No, we do not want to be hurt.
No, we do not want to be taken advantage of….but we would if it meant saving relationship with our kids.
This is not a perfectly executed or balanced process. We stumble over pride, rights, rules, fairness, and how to best help them grow a healthy sense of responsibility….yet we manage to squeak out a chortle or two. We have to laugh to remember our lives are forward. WE are building….strengthening….trusting.
Laughter saves us from rigid rule keeping. It frees us to explore and accept exceptions. It reminds us of love….yes that big, BIG love….that makes us braver than we believe, stronger than we seem, and smarter than we think….and reminds US to never let go.